Walker signs Minor League deal
Veteran reliever will face battle to earn final bullpen job
TORONTO -- The Blue Jays are giving Pete Walker another chance. On Monday, Toronto signed the 37-year-old reliever to a Minor League contract that includes an invitation to Spring Training.
Walker had two stints on the disabled list with shoulder issues last year, and the right-hander had surgery to repair his rotator cuff. That put the finishing touch on an injury-marred season in which Walker finished 1-1 with a 5.40 ERA in 30 innings out of Toronto's bullpen.
In October, Walker declined an outright assignment from the Jays, becoming a free agent. With Toronto's pitchers and catchers due to report to Spring Training on Friday, and Walker still unsigned, the Jays decided to offer the pitcher another opportunity to make their bullpen.
Heading into Spring Training, Toronto has six pitchers -- B.J. Ryan, Brandon League, Jason Frasor, Jeremy Accardo, Scott Downs and Brian Tallet -- who appear to be locks to make Toronto's 'pen. Walker will have to compete against a number of pitchers in order to have a shot at the seventh, and final, relief job.
During his 16-year professional career, including seven in the Majors, Walker has spent time with the Mets, Padres, Rockies and Blue Jays. He hadn't pitched more than 13 Major League games in a season until Toronto claimed him off waivers in '02, though. That year, Walker set a career high with 10 wins and he appeared in 37 games, including 20 starts.
In four seasons with Toronto, Walker -- used mainly as a long reliever and a spot starter -- has gone 19-14 with 4.32 ERA in 124 outings, including 31 starts. The right-hander has posted a 4.48 ERA in 144 career games.
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.